Tag archives for energy efficiency

So you’re thinking about installing a geothermal cooling and heating system? You can do this, and you have the means to install the best system money can buy for a fair price. There are a lot of competent geothermal HVAC professionals that are willing to help. As in any transaction, you just need to be…

For the first time in the short history of the U.S. government’s Renewable Fuel Standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed to decrease the total amount of renewable fuel required as part of the national supply, with a 41 percent cut to the advanced biofuel category. But a study recently published by our organization…

They came, they built super-efficient vehicles, gained friends and conquered. All 105 student teams from 15 nations participating in this year’s Shell* Eco-marathon Asia are going back to their home countries with a feeling of fulfillment and pride. But winners of the four-day race for fuel-efficiency—from Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore—were in an even more festive…

Which is more important: Meeting energy demand, lowering carbon emissions, or conserving water? How about all three? The Three Big Challenges Facing the Electric Power Industry The U.S. electric power industry has huge challenges to meet in the coming decades. First and foremost it has to meet growing demand for electricity. By 2050 it is…

Forty years ago this month, Syria and Egypt launched a Yom Kippur surprise attack on Israel to regain land and prestige lost in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israeli forces were nearing Damascus and Cairo when a ceasefire took hold. But as the Soviet Union resupplied its Arab clients and President Nixon resupplied Israel, Arab members…

Iraq is longing for renewable and sustainable energy solutions, National Geographic Explorer Thomas H. Culhane found out. It just takes a little extra time to don body armor and get through security when you’re packing food-waste grinders, solar panels, water pumps, and bio-gas systems. Culhane filed this report from his travels to Iraq, a place…

For several years running, French engineering students from two neighboring Loire Valley schools, Polytech Nantes and La Joliverie, have shared engineering and effort to build rocket-shaped vehicles that captured top prizes at Shell Eco-marathon Europe fuel efficiency race. But the students began to feel there was something lacking in their cars’ perennially award-winning profile. “It…

A hot pink wind turbine turned above one paddock at Shell Eco-marathon Europe this year; it was the stall of the team from Inholland University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. The students, all studying aeronautical engineering, have designed a vehicle with a detachable rear end that can be changed in few minutes and converted…

Kağan Meijer of Celal Bayar University in Turkey explains the changes made to the vehicle to conform to new rules for Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2013. Celal Bayar’s car last year, Tarzan, had large over-hanging solar panels, but this year, the  solar panels needed to be smaller to be integrated into the body of the vehicle.…

Hungary’s Kecskemét College had an amazing second-place run in last year’s Shell Eco-marathon Europe, and the team was determined to kick up its performance this year. The gasoline-powered engine is now 45 cubic centimeters, about a third larger than last year’s engine for the car, nicknamed Megameter, which achieved a performance of 2,695.5 kilometers per liter…

What if you could pack and assemble a car like Ikea furniture? Students at Aston University aimed for lightweight portability and sustainability in the wood car they designed and built for Shell Eco-marathon Europe. Their project manager, Christian Mclening, explains the innovative plywood composite chassis and “flat-pack” design in the video below. In addition to…

Dana and Lorena Ruisi of Universidad Cardenal Herrera’s Idea Ceu Team from Spain explain that their team took inspiration from nature for the shape of their car entered in Shell Eco-marathon Europe. Their vehicle is shaped like a rain drop. They believe falling rain is one of nature’s most efficient means of movement, and they…

As a college athlete (track and field), I understand the desire to put on a good performance while on one’s home turf. So when I was talking to high school students from Team Ubbo Emmius from the Netherlands at Shell Eco-marathon Europe, I expected them to feel the same way about “home field advantage” giving…

More than 3,000 high school and college students from 24 countries are gathered in the port city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, this weekend for a race for fuel efficiency. More than 180 cars are entered in Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2013, where students design and build super-low-mileage vehicles, and then prove them on a 10-mile (16.3-kilometer)…

When we published a story this week on a study that showed the negative consequences of environmental messaging on light bulbs, we suspected the subject would spark a lively debate—and our readers delivered. The post garnered more than 2,500 Facebook “likes,” 582 tweets, 93 Google+ “+1s,” and more than 90 comments. A few themes are…

The effort to go green in building materials added to the challenges for the Loyola Marymount Senior Mechanical Engineers team at Shell Eco-marathon Americans 2013. Senior Van Weller explained that the team chose lightweight bamboo for the body of its gasoline-powered prototype vehicle, the Gen 5, and spiffed it up with gold paint. Unfortunately, the…

Zack Lapetina of Purdue University explains how the Purdue Solar Racing team uses high-efficiency photovoltaic panels, and then adds intensifiers to increase the amount of sunlight the cars capture for energy in Shell Eco-marathon Americas student design competition. You can also read their blog about their journey here: Lighter and Sleeker for This Year’s Race.…

Students at Cicero-North Syracuse High School are demonstrating an innovation in flexible vehicle design with the hydrogen vehicles they built for Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2013. The CNS Performance Engineering Team fashioned its hydrogen tank and fuel cell unit, shown in one of the photos above, as a modular, removable unit that can be moved back…

The “Let’s Do It Again!” team from James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina weaves reuse, recycling, and waste reduction into construction of the high-efficiency electric cars it builds for Shell Eco-marathon Americas. This year, the team’s three vehicles incorporate parts of an old baby carriage, a child car seat, a chair, some…

In order to gain easy access to work on the engine between heats, students from Mater Dei High School of Evansville, Indiana, typically build their Shell Eco-marathon cars to open like unhinged clamshells. However, as coach Dan Ritter explains, duct tape works surprisingly well at holding everything together on the track. It seems to have…

Sophomore Dansil Green, team driver, explains one of the ways that the Granite Falls High School team from Washington State seeks to set a mark in fuel economy at Shell Eco-marathon Americas: With a light-footed driving style. Like most of the teams, the ShopGirls coast around the track when they can, only drawing on their…

Pamela Ruiz of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City explains how her team built a car that resembles a predator of the sea. Appropriately, they named their vehicle Mako, after the fast-moving shark. Nacional Autonoma is one of 11 teams from outside the United States in Shell Eco-marathon Americas this year (four from…

Junior electrical engineering student Shane Poindexter, of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ “Nanook” team, explains  how the team transported their six vehicles more than 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) to Houston: In their airline luggage. He says even in an oil-producing state, the students recognize the importance of building more fuel-efficient vehicles. The team team’s six…

Although the mileage turned in by the top performers in Shell Eco-marathon Americas may be eye-popping—typically about 2,000 miles per gallon (846 kilometers per liter)—the student competitors in the European edition of the competition achieve triple the fuel economy. (Last year’s European winner turned in a performance of 6,663.2 mpg (2,832.8 km/l). (See “French Teams…

Although hydrogen has been hampered as an oil alternative in the real world because of challenges in setting up a new fueling infrastructure, students are showing that it is a viable and clean transportation fuel at Shell Eco-marathon Americas. Andy Bank, of the University of Missouri’s Tigergen team, shows off Mizzou’s Tigergen III car in…